Category: Press Release

Design in Action Showcase

ARC Manufacturing Ltd spared no expense in feting customers and distinguished guests with a swanky affair on Friday, October 13. The company, which has been a Design Week collaborator since its inception, hosted the penultimate event of the Design Week Ja 2023 series in fine form, treating guests to an afternoon of decadent catering, cocktails and mellow vibes. 

It was the perfect end to a steamy week and a groovy start to the weekend. The event started with cocktails and conversation, inviting guests to network and relax before the start of the programme. CPJ provided a well-stocked bar, and DJ Chin Movements, an events production outfit, filled the spacious venue with all the right grooves.

The warehouse at 14 Bell Road, where the event took place, is relatively new and part of ARC Manufacturing’s move to modernise and expand its retail space.

Novlet Green, general manager of corporate affairs and governance at ARC Manufacturing, delivered the welcome ahead of blessings and prayer from Reverend Dr Stevenson Samuels. The company’s Executive Chairman Norman Horne was up next to deliver the main address.

In his speech, Horne told the story of how the company’s venture into the business-to-consumer retail space was at the behest of then Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who was adamant that the company should not only be serving other businesses but her constituents as well. However, this is not the only way the company aims to serve its community.

According to Horne, “Employees are concerned about inflation. Prices are rising, and the major complaint is that salaries are not rising in tandem with prices. We adopted a philosophy here that we want to pay a fair wage for a fair day’s work, and so far, we have continued this practice, which has resulted in one of the highest blue-collar and white-collar employee salary packages in this industry.”

Horne, who has led the company for its 27 years of operation, went on to declare that ARC Manufacturing was fully invested in Jamaica. He also shared the company’s current expansion plan as well as his vision for the company and its role in the Jamaican manufacturing and distribution industry.

“Currently, we have the only treatment plant in Jamaica. For some time, we were the only nail manufacturer on the island. We have been the first in a lot of areas, so we are hoping to become the leaders in bringing other sectors to Jamaica, and we welcome other companies to join in,” he noted, adding that the competition would be good for the country, as well.

ARC Manufacturing is one of the leading manufacturers and distributors of premium-quality building materials in Jamaica. The company has also begun to expand its offerings and hopes to continue on this trend.

“For us, Design Week is an opportunity to share with the public how a company like ours — that is in the manufacturing side of things — interfaces with design in Jamaica. Most people will hear design and think fashion, and so on, but, for us, it goes beyond that. We do offer some products in the interior design space, and we’re looking to expand our product offering in that space, as well,” Horne said.

Apart from extending its product offering, Horne also revealed plans to open the new retail space on 14 Bell Road to interior designers and related businesses for a shared commercial experience.

After Design Week’s own Novia McDonald-Whyte gave her address on design conversations, patrons engaged in some light fun and games, with two winners walking away with goodies courtesy of ARC Manufacturing.

Closing statements were given by Neville Alexander, deputy general manager of manufacturing and property maintenance, and then, ending on a very high note, the company signed out with the Silver Birds Steel Orchestra. The performance was so good that one ARC Manufacturing employee couldn’t help but deliver an impromptu and admittedly well-executed dance performance.

The event presented the perfect setting for the company to engage with customers and provide a platform for networking. The catering experience, care of Mastered Meals by Whitley, juiced the palate for conversation, with everything from a colourful fruit and cheese display, a vegan option in the form of a spring roll served with pineapple mint chutney, and a dessert station offering strawberry panna cotta and double chocolate fudge gateau. The pasta station and the BBQ chicken satay were crowd favourites.

For the patrons, however, it was all about supporting ARC Manufacturing. One such patron, Mark Tucker of Northcoast Hardware and Supercentre, had nothing but high praises.

“The event was very informative. Design Week is something we need. I’m always here because I’m a big supporter of ARC Manufacturing. They feel like family. The customer service is great, and the prices don’t hurt, either. We started in 2008, and we’ve been growing with ARC over the years,” Tucker shared.

With all the excitement witnessed so far and, equally important, the dialogue and debate, Design Week Ja 2023 can proudly claim another successful season.

Published by The Jamaica Observer.

ARC Bemoans Construction Imports

ARC Manufacturing is lobbying the Government to curb the influx of construction items being imported.

Speaking recently during Jamaica Observer’s Design Week, senior managers at the company lamented that the local market is saturated with cheap imports taking away a huge share of the business.

General manager for sales and marketing Devon Brooks told the Jamaica Observer that the situation has progressively worsened and poses serious threats to construction workers in the island.

“We’re apart of Caricom and as a member state there are certain benefits that should obtain being in a single market. We realise that there’s dumping of certain items in our industry and market, nails are one of them. We have importation of Chinese and Dominican Republic nails on the market and the truth is when you look at quality of the product, it’s night and day,” Brooks argued.

He said “nails are very light items but you can feel the difference when you lift them up. When you hit one of our nails the likelihood of it bending is near impossible, when you use one of the imported nails— and workmen are using it — the nails are flying all over the place. We’ve seen reports of persons being injured because we have those inferior products coming on the market and it’s selling because of the price points.”

He explained that in most cases the importers are able to sell at a third of the price which makes it hard for his company to compete, although he maintains that ARC sells high quality products at affordable prices.

In fact, investigations conducted by the Business Observer revealed that some imported construction items are more expensive compared with ARC prices.

For example, a pound of 4-inch galvanised nail on the market is going for $359, the same item at ARC Manufacturing costs $290 per pound.

With this in mind, Brooks said the company is simply asking for some order in the market. He said right now it appears to be a free for all.

“The Government needs to have more bilateral agreements with the partnering countries. When you look at other countries they have their individual bilateral agreements with different states outside of the Caricom arrangement, we need to have our own agreements,” he stated.

He emphasised that ARC is creating jobs for Jamaicans and that should be factored into the decisions which are made in the industry.

Devon Brooks – General Manager of Sales at ARC Manufacturing Limited.

“As manufacturers we contribute to the employment of Jamaicans and we believe that the Jamaican Government should try its very best. We have to do far more protecting manufacturers in Jamaica,” Brooks argued.

Nevertheless, the company is pressing ahead with plans to expand its retail space on Bell Road in St Andrew. Brooks is hopeful the new space will allow ARC to scrape back some of the market share it’s lost to imports.

“Initially we occupied a very small space 5,000 sq ft, we are planning on expanding and modernise the entire area so that our customer base can grow,” he said.

“We’re doing it to ensure that we support all our customer base, our contractors and developers. That store will facilitate their kind of business where we have our sales reps going to the various trade shows, bringing the latest in technology and the latest in creative ideas,” he continued.

He told the Business Observer that the expanded retail space should be completed within a year.

“We’re kinda keeping it very close to our heart because we want to plan a nice grand opening but we are in execution mode and whatever we execute is within a twelve month period. We’re not about this lengthy delay and planning. We plan quickly, accurately, we bring all the stakeholders to the table to ensure that we have flawless and quick execution. So in no time you’ll be able to come and walk the floors of the store,” Brooks stated.

Published by the Jamaica Observer.

Horace Pennant ‘Nailing It’ with Chosen Profession

From watching his father in action as a supervisor in the engineering department at the National Water Commission (NWC), Horace Pennant knew he wanted to be in a profession that involved working with his hands. 

His first job as he entered adulthood involved working alongside his father but he left the working environment as he craved to do more.

“I was working on a spray foam machine after I left NWC and even though I found favour in it, a doctor told me that the chemical I was using, me did haffi hop out of it because after a time me would a get cancer. So I left it and I was at home, not doing anything and someone introduced me to ARC Manufacturing say dem employing workers. I get the work as a machine operator in the nail department and I didn’t even know say nail make out here,” Pennant joked.

The Grove Road, St Andrew, native has since found his niche working at the manufacturing company for more than a decade, where he is the supervisor of the nail plant. His current position is one he ascended to two years after he started working at the company. He reminisced on his first day on the job, where he learnt the key steps of making common wire nails. Pennant spent two weeks in training, familiarising himself with the nail making machine and getting acquainted with the sophisticated and delicate process of making nails. 

“The simple version of making nails depends on the size nails that you want. So we make from one-inch to six-inch nail. It’s 10 different sizes of nail. Say you want to make a two-and-a-half-inch nail, you take the wire and it draw to that size of the nail and you load it on to the sieve. It’s like a needle and thread, you string it up and start to sew. The machine does everything, make the head, the point, cut it and we just full it from the point,” he explained. Once that process is completed, the nails are placed in a tumbler to be cleaned and quality checked, and then they are packaged for local sale or export.

Decked in his hard hat, reflector vest and steel toe boots, the 54-year-old has the daily task of leading a team of 25 highly trained workers in the production of nails and managing the nail inventory. The father of four shared that he remains dedicated to his job because of his peers and his family, knowing that he is motivating another generation of technicians. In addition to the on the job training he has received, Pennant is a certified machine and forklift operator, having completed courses administered by the HEART/NSTA Trust.

Pennant, who is a past student of Wolmer’s Boys’ School and St Joseph’s High told THE STAR that nail production requires one to pay keen attention to details, adhere to safety protocols, be an exemplary leader and a good listener, and to have patience.

“I don’t think I would ever leave this job for another job. I see room here to grow and I have learnt a lot to the point where I can teach others” Pennant said.

Published by The Star.

ARC to Increase Retail Space Fivefold

Construction materials company ARC Manufacturing Limited is adding five times more retail space for customers looking to purchase items for home improvement projects.

The upgrade, aimed at improving retail consumers’ overall shopping experience, expands on ARC Manufacturing’s plan to modernize and improve efficiencies at its 14 Bell Road complex. The company has already begun work on upgrading a 70,000-square-foot warehouse on the property which, on completion, will see the implementation of an automated crane system that will result in minimised use of forklifts.

Up to 2011, ARC Manufacturing’s business solely consisted of wholesale customers – that is, large contractors, the hardware trade, and developers buying in bulk for resale to homeowners or use in large construction projects.

But after being prompted by then Member of Parliament for the South West St Andrew constituency, Portia Simpson-Miller about the goods being inaccessible to community members who were undergoing construction works, the company introduced a retail space for the small shopper to purchase not only goods manufactured by the company, but also construction finishing materials it distributes.

ARC Manufacturing’s flirtation with retail started out as a tiny space at the complex that grew over time to 5,000 square feet. From this store, the manufacturing giant retails construction materials, fixtures and fittings, tools and accessories.

Through the redevelopment of about four buildings on the 18+ acre property, the project is expected to take the company’s retail store from 5,000 to 24,000 square feet.

The company’s general manager in charge of sales and marketing, Devon Brooks, told the Financial Gleaner that the company is still designing the new space, but expects to incorporate aisles for consumers to browse the products. A separate entrance will also be created for the retail store, with its own parking.

ARC may also decide to introduce new product lines, for example, homeware and small appliances, he said.

“All of the details are still being worked through. But overall, our intention is to create a modern, comfortable space for retail consumers. It is not to cannibalise our existing customers,” said Brooks.

Though the ISO9001:2015 certified company has not disclosed how much it is spending on the new retail store, they are looking to employ at least 20 additional persons at the end of the project, which is expected to be commissioned within a year.

ARC Manufacturing’s core business is the importation of metals which are then processed into finished goods, including wire nails, barbed wire, quarter wire, binding wire, fabric mesh, nails, chain-link fencing, tracks and studs, purlins, circular and industrial zinc, roofing tiles, hurricane straps, and other roofing products.

The company’s distribution portfolio includes all its manufactured products, as well as cement, concrete blocks, structural steel, rebars, merchant bars, plywood, hardboard, cement board, furniture ply, plumbing and electrical supplies, steel plates, paints, furniture lumber, among other retail items.

Published by the Jamaica Gleaner.

ARC Developing New Construction Material Plants

Construction materials company ARC Manufacturing Limited is converting one of the warehouses at its plant on Bell Road in Kingston into factory space prepares to venture into the manufacturing of steel hollow sections and metal pipes.

The two new plants to be developed will share a 30,000-square-foot space, will position the company as the sole manufacturer of hollow sections and metal pipes in Jamaica, and will ultimately give it the muscle it needs to carve market share away from imports, the company indicated this week.

At the core of ARC’s business is the importation of metals which are then processed into finished goods including wire nails, barbed wire, quarter wire, binding wire, fabric mesh, nails, chainlink fencing, tracks and studs, purlins, circular and industrial zinc, roofing tiles, hurricane straps, and other roofing products.

The 12-year-old company currently stands as the sole manufacturer of binding wire in Jamaica. Its distributed line includes all its manufactured products, as well as cement, concrete blocks, structural steel, rebars, merchant bars, plywood, hardboard, cement board, furniture ply, plumbing and electrical supplies, steel plates, paints, furniture lumber, among other retail items.

Outside of being the sole manufacturer of binding wire, the manufacturing giant also operates a lumber treatment plant, which is said to be one of the most modern in the region; as well as a metal slitting plant – the only of its kind in Jamaica.

The company markets its goods to businesses across varying sectors in Jamaica, as well as retails products from a store at its Bell Road plant. Offshore, it does business in the southern United States and Caricom markets, where, outside of Jamaican customers, it will first seek takers for its supplies of steel hollows and metal pipes.

“ARC’s approach to manufacturing is based on there being sufficient business in the domestic market to amortise our investment, as well as our ability to export our surpluses. Our research has confirmed that is sufficient demand for hollow sections and pipe in the domestic market and there are also opportunities,” Chairman of ARC Manufacturing, Norman Horne, told the Financial Gleaner, following a tour of the company’s near 18-acre complex by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica on Wednesday.

“In the Caribbean, Haiti does some level of conversion of hollow sections, but throughout Caricom there are no manufacturers who are doing this item. We are very excited about the Caribbean, particularly Caricom, and we are also very excited about the possibility of selling to the US given deteriorating relations between that country and China,” Horne said.

Steel hollows, which ARC will produce in square and round shapes, are used as structural material in construction. The section pipes are also used for everyday applications such as vehicle trailers, fences, scaffold and handrails. Metal pipes, on the other hand, are used to transport products, such as oil, gas and water, and are suitable for long-term installations.

ARC Manufacturing has already begun securing equipment for the new plants and will be engaging a specialist from Turkey to construct the facilities. The repurposed building is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

“What we insist on when we bring technical persons from aboard is knowledge transfer; it’s part of the agreement we have. We have appointed a few persons to ensure that when they leave the knowledge stays,” Horne said.

Horne’s plan for the new production plants at Bell Road, which sits on the outskirts of Three Miles in Kingston, is the first of a two-part process to drive revenues up for the company.

The ISO9001:2105 certified company is also in the process of upgrading a 70,000-square foot warehouse on the property — a project that will eventually see the company switching out some of its manual forklift operations for an automated crane system, which will not only increase safety and accuracy in the warehouse, but will also give the company much more room to hold inventory due to a new form of stacking of heavy materials such as steel and timber.

Additionally, they will also install two bridge cranes in the ceiling of the warehouse, each of which has the capacity to lift 10 tonnes to a height of 20 feet, and cover 620 feet in length. The automated crane system, which will replace forklifts, offers the company a more effective way of stacking that utilises the building’s spacing, both in width and height, more efficiently. The crane’s hoist can rotate 360 degrees, which allows for packaging in parallel and perpendicular format, or put more simply, in a box format.

“At the moment, we are only utilising about 40 per cent of the warehouse space because the forklifts need space to traverse and you have to separate your products in a way that makes them accessible to forklifts,” said Horne.

“But with this modern crane we should be able to utilise 90 per cent of the space. What that means is that we will have more than enough room to transfer the materials being stored in the space that we intend to use for the two factories into the new warehouse,” Horne said.

ARC Manufacturing also stores materials at three locations owned and operated by an affiliated company called ARC Properties Limited. But those spaces will be freed up for lease to external parties, once the warehouse upgrade is completed. The improved facility will serve to bring goods stored outside of the plant indoors, while consolidating the internal steel warehouses.

“What I can say is that our aim is to do 1,400 tonnes of the products monthly,” he said.

While the manufacturing and distribution company is moving to automate some of its processes, Horne also said no jobs would be lost. The company is looking instead to add to its workforce.

“We are on a mission to modernise our business as part of our space management concept. The truth is that the way in which we are set up now, it may impact delivery times. So we are focusing on fixing that,” Horne said.

ARC Manufacturing employs about 350 workers full-time, many of whom are from the areas surrounding the Bell Road complex. On completion of the projects, the company expects to have north of 400 people on its payroll.

Published by the Jamaica Gleaner.